City To Close Washington Street For Fireball Run
The City of Watertown will close a portion of Washington Street for a few hours in late September.
That decision apparently clears the way for the 'Fireball Run' to come to Watertown.
City leaders met with the head of the Greater Watertown Chamber of Commerce Thursday afternoon, and agreed to close the street between noon and 7 p.m. on September 25 to accomodate the project.
The city's initial reluctance to close the street prompted the show's producer to warn he would move the Watertown segment to Sackets Harbor.
Other than Jeff Graham, the mayor, Joe Butler was the only member of the city council to attend the meeting.
Butler said he was concerned about access to the drive-thru' window at Community Bank on the 25th.
Graham and Butler said all the other council members support closing the street.
(Washington Street would be closed from just below the Community Bank branch to Sterling Street.)
Chamber of Commerce president Lynn Pietroski said she will relay the city's decision to Universal Studios, the show's producer.
"The logistical issues of accomodating this are far outweighed by the fun people are going to have," said Graham.
"I know the Historical Society, the library, the downtown business owners are looking forward to it."
Our story from earlier today follows.
Unless the city of Watertown agrees to close a section of Washington Street for most of one day in September, Fireball Run will move the finale of its north country segment to Sackets Harbor.
In a letter to city officials, the show's executive producer says he needs to know by 3 p.m. Friday if the city will agree to close Washington from the Roswell P. Flower statue to Sterling Street.
The Greater Watertown Chamber of Commerce is pushing for the street closing, but city officials are resisting.
Meeting Thursday morning, the advisory group Advantage Watertown added its voice to the dispute.
Advantage members say closing the street is a minor inconvenience in return for the national publicity the city will receive.
City staff, Mayor Jeff Graham and officials from the chamber will meet Thursday afternoon to try to reach a resolution.
The street would be closed from noon to 7 p.m. on September 25.
The 2012 edition of Fireball Run is called Northern Exposure and takes competitors from Independence, Ohio to Bangor, Maine.
Fireball Run is both a live-streaming web event and a motion picture. This year, it be held September 21-29.
This will be the sixth of the Fireball Run rallies, which started in 2007.
Thursday, May 23, 2013, Watertown, NY
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